Terms & Conditions

Issue 20.04c

1. Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic is continuing to be a disaster and challenge to global health unprecedented in our lifetimes. It has also been easily the most challenging period for the Scottish holiday industry for generations. We are a long-established but small family-owned holiday business and the entirety of our 2020 business season has been disrupted. As a result of the pandemic, we have faced a huge number of customer cancellations, all of which we have, with difficulty, refunded and we have also successfully transferred a large number of customer bookings from the 2020 season into our 2021 season. We are extremely grateful to our customers, very many of whom have been coming to us year after year, for the flexibility and understanding that they have shown us.

Because the effects of Covid-19 have been so uncertain and have been changing month by month, we need to continue to reserve a large amount of flexibility in how we are accepting bookings for the time being. Our booking terms are therefore being reviewed on a regular basis and are subject to change as circumstances and the outlook for the pandemic change.

So, the Terms & Conditions set out here will apply to any booking (including the subsequent full provision of the holiday) made while these Terms & Conditions apply. These Terms & Conditions were published to our website as at 12 noon on 17 December 2020 and accordingly apply from then (superseding any previous version) until they are replaced by any subsequent Terms & Conditions published in the same way.

One key thing that we are offering while the pandemic continues to make things uncertain, is to offer to significantly delay the date by which you need to pay for the balance of your holiday. Normally, we ask you to pay the 75% balance (after initial 25% deposit payment) not later than 63 days (roughly 3 months) before your holiday is due to start. Recognising that you may feel wary about committing your full holiday cost while it remains uncertain as to whether the pandemic restrictions will allow your holiday to go ahead, we are willing, for bookings for the 2021 season, to delay that balancing payment deadline until not less than 35 days before your holiday starts. So, to recap, the date on which the balance of your holiday cost will be due to be paid (“the Balance Due Date”) is:-

• For bookings for holidays that will take place within the 2021 season, 35 days before the holiday starts; and
• For all other bookings, 63 days before the holiday starts.

Thank you for your support throughout this most difficult period.

2. Personal Travel Insurance

We are a long-established but small, independent and family-owned holiday provider, passionately committed to offering our customers amazing adventure-filled holidays in the Scottish Highlands at excellent value.

Like all similar operators, when we take a booking for a particular holiday, we block that particular booking out and we do not actively re-sell it unless we are forced to do so by you cancelling (and in which event, we find that we are rarely able to re-sell). We have major capital costs every year and the costs of gearing and staffing up for each season are significant. We simply can’t afford to operate our business unless you make a commitment to us (i) initially in the form of a non-refundable deposit at the same time as we make a commitment to you in blocking out and holding for you your holiday booking, and then (ii) later in paying the balance of your holiday price as the date of your holiday becomes closer and our chances of re-selling your booking become minimal. For that reason, we do not refund initial deposits or, once paid, the full balance of your holiday in any circumstances except where the decision to cancel a holiday is made by us.

The levels of our initial deposits and partial refunds (as set out in paragraph 6d and 6e) are calculated as representing a conservative estimate of the irrecoverable losses that we will suffer if you cancel your booking. By accepting these Terms & Conditions, you accept that the loss of your deposit or balancing payment in such circumstances is a fair and proportionate recompense to us for such losses.

To ensure that you are able to recover your holiday cost where you need to cancel your holiday, we strenuously advise you to take out suitable Travel Insurance and that this should be put in place at the time you make your booking. This should cover all items that we cannot be responsible for including cancellation charges, loss or damage to personal items and personal accident or injury.

3. Your payments are protected

In accordance with the “Package Travel & Linked Travel Regulations 2018” all payments (including your initial deposit and subsequent balance of your holiday price) made by you to us are fully protected in the highly unlikely event of the insolvency of Caledonian Discovery Ltd.

Your booking is insured by IPP Ltd and its panel of insurers. This insurance is only valid for customers who book and pay directly with/to us. For further information please go to www.ipplondon.co.uk.

This insurance has been arranged by International Passenger Protection Limited and underwritten by Insurers who are members of the Association of British Insurers & Lloyds Syndicates.

This insurance does not cover you for any circumstances in which you need to cancel your booking. For that, you need to take out private travel insurance as set out in paragraph 2.

4. Your contract with us

These Terms & Conditions, together with any booking made by you (in the manner set out in paragraph 5) constitute a contract between us. No variation to that contract will apply unless it is agreed by both of us in writing. The parties to the contract are the person who made the booking (“you”) and us, Caledonian Discovery Limited (registered Scottish Company SC157655) (“us/we”).

5. Booking and payment

A booking is made (and contract between us is formed) once the booking form and the required deposit has been received from you, and a confirmation in writing has been issued by us (usually by e-mail).

By making a booking with us, you are agreeing to these Terms & Conditions.

If you are booking on behalf of other people you are confirming that you have the authority of those people and that they agree to be bound by these Terms & Conditions. As the person making the booking, you will be the primary person responsible for the contract.

In relation to all bookings:-

a. A provisional booking may be made by telephone or e-mail but must be confirmed within one week with a booking form and non-refundable (except as specifically set out in these Terms & Conditions) deposit payment or it will lapse.
b. The deposit payment will be 25% of the overall holiday cost (or full payment if the booking is made on or after what would otherwise be the Balance Due Date).
c. Payments can be made:

i. By credit / debit card by telephone to our office.
ii. By credit / debit card on our secure website.
iii. By BACS / Bank transfer (our account details are available on request)
iv. By international transfer / IBAN (ask us for details). In this case all charges must be met by the person paying.

d. The balance (75% of the price of your holiday) must be paid by the Balance Due Date. The payment date will be indicated in the confirmation of booking and a reminder sent ahead of the balancing payment being due. If you do not pay the balancing payment by the due date, we reserve the right to cancel your booking in which case, your deposit will not be refunded.
e. For whole boat private charters, a 25% deposit is required to confirm the booking. A further 25% deposit is payable 126 days before the start date of the holiday. The remaining balance is payable 63 days before the start date of your holiday.
f. Our published prices include:

i. 3, 5 or 6-nights’ accommodation.
ii. All meals from dinner on day of arrival to breakfast on day of departure.
iii. All instruction and use of bikes, canoes and specialist equipment.
iv. Payment protection insurance (paragraph 3 above).

g. Our prices do not include:

i. Personal travel insurance (paragraph 2 above).
ii. Transport to or from the start/finish points (transport from the finish point back to the start point can usually be booked separately at extra cost).
iii. Drinks from our bar and items from our shop supplied during your holiday. These must be paid for in full before the end of the holiday.

6. Cancellation or transfer of booking by you

We appreciate that sometimes unforeseen circumstances arise meaning that you must cancel your holiday. This is particularly the case in these difficult Covid-19 times.

We again strenuously advise you to take out suitable private travel insurance at the time of booking (see paragraph 2 above). Please note our following cancellation terms:-

a. Short cooling off period: Bookings made more than 14 days before the start date (but not otherwise) can be cancelled within 48 hours and the deposit will be refunded.
b. Any cancellation must be notified to us in writing by the person who made the booking.
c. Any refund due will only be made to the person from whom we received the payment.
d. For a holiday taking place within the 2021 season, if you cancel your holiday:

i. Before the Balance Due Date, you will not be charged the balance of your holiday cost, but the deposit will be non-refundable.
ii. After the Balance Due Date, we will not make any refund of your total holiday cost.

e. For a holiday taking place within the 2022 season, if you cancel your holiday:

i. Before the Balance Due Date, you will not be charged the balance of your holiday cost, but the deposit will be non-refundable.
ii. Between the Balance Due Date and 31 days before the start date, we will refund 50% of your total holiday cost.
iii. Between 30 and 15 days before the start date, we will refund 25% of your total holiday cost.
iv. 14 days (or less) before the start date, we will not make any refund of your total holiday cost.

f. You may transfer your booking to another person you nominate, up to 15 days before your holiday start date. The admin fee for this is £50 per person.
g. If (i) you are legally prevented from travelling to the Scottish Highlands in time for the start date of any holiday taking place within the 2021 season because of a government travel restriction caused by the Covid-19 pandemic (but not because of any other reason) and (ii) apply to us in writing not earlier than the Balance Due Date requesting us to do so, we will, at our discretion and subject to availability, transfer your booking to any other of our published dates at no additional or administrative charge to you.

7. Cancellation or changes by us

We take great pride in doing everything we reasonably can to ensure that you holiday runs as advertised and that you have an amazing holiday experience.

However, our holidays are based afloat within a natural and managed waterway system that we don’t control and subject to many external factors – as we have experienced this year in particular.

If we need to make changes then we will advise you as early as possible of any alterations.

The following apply:-

a. Cancellation by us
We have to reserve the right to cancel any holiday. In this unlikely event all payments received by us from you will be refunded to you. That refund will be the maximum liability that we will have to you and we will not be responsible for any further compensation or any losses, costs or expenses you incur or have incurred in connection with your holiday booking or arrangements.

b. Insignificant changes
The itineraries we publish should only be taken as a guide and there is no guarantee that we will be able to follow them exactly. We and the skipper of the vessel reserve the right to vary the holiday in any way due to adverse weather or other conditions. The skipper holds the responsibility for the safety of the vessel and all those on board and you accept their decision on these matters, and generally all rules, orders or requirements of the skipper as final. Although such changes to the nominal itinerary may cause inconvenience, we would consider them insignificant and part and parcel of this type of adventure holiday.

c. Significant changes
Occasionally there are other factors outside our control that mean we have to make an alteration to a holiday that we deem to be significant. In the case of significant changes we will inform you as early as possible with the following:

i. The details of the significant change that will affect the holiday you have booked.
ii. The alternative holiday or arrangements that we can offer, as similar as possible to that you originally booked.
iii. Any change to the price.
iv. Whether, if the alternatives are unacceptable to you, we are offering a transfer or a cancellation and what refund (if any) would apply.

d. Curtailment during the holiday
If we are forced by circumstances outside our control to curtail your holiday after it has started, we will arrange transport to the finish point of the cruise (or to the cruise start point if you had booked our return transport). We will arrange a refund for the proportion of the holiday that has not been delivered. Any such refund will be the maximum liability that we are responsible to you for – we will not be responsible for any additional expenses incurred by you.

8. Disclosure and acceptance of risk etc

The activities we offer are not completely free from risk. Whilst the chances of serious injury are extremely remote, the chance of minor injury (bruises, bumps and minor fractures) have to be seen as possible outcomes, to much the same extent as normal active daily life.

We have taken all reasonable steps to provide you with the level of care and assurances of safety appropriate to these activities. We fully accept our legal and moral responsibilities in these matters but feel that you, as a customer or parent or guardian of a customer would wish to be fully informed about what you may experience.

We request that you (in confidence) advise us, before booking, of any medical condition or disability that would be likely to affect your full enjoyment of your holiday with us. Where we reasonably can make adjustments to how we do things, we will. However, our barges are large structural vessels to which physical adjustments cannot readily be made and they are simply not fully accessible to everyone. If you have any doubts or concerns about any aspect of the accessibility and full enjoyment of your holiday with us, it is essential that you raise that with us before booking.

Likewise, you must advise us please, before booking, of any special dietary requirement. We cannot guarantee to provide any dietary requirement unless it is requested at the time of booking and we accept it then.

We carry all appropriate public liability insurances for our business but we additionally require you to have considered taking out all necessary private travel and other risk insurances appropriate to the risks inherent in our holidays and as set out in these Terms and Conditions.

9. Life afloat

Our promotional material gives a good indication of what it is like to be on one of our holidays. We are so proud that so many of our guests say that our holidays are amongst the best they have ever experienced and that we welcome back so many friends year after year.

Our barges are large vessels but with 12 guests aboard, and between 4 and 6 crew, it is necessarily the case that you will be spending your week in the company of others. To ensure that everyone enjoys and feels comfortable during their holiday and that – above all other considerations – everyone stays safe, we undertake a compulsory full safety and operational briefing before we depart.

The experienced skipper is “master” of the vessel. This means that his or her decision and request on any matter is absolute. We have various rules that will be explained to you at the briefing (or are generally available on request) and you simply must comply with them. If you do not, we reserve the right to curtail your holiday at any time and in such circumstances, no refund will be paid.

Our rules include (but are not limited to):-

• Our safety rules are absolute and failure to follow them may, at the discretion of the skipper, result in curtailment of your holiday at the next first available opportunity;
• No smoking (including e-cigarettes or the likes) is permitted anywhere on or close to the vessel;
• Unless we agree otherwise prior to the holiday starting (at our discretion and subject to any reasonable conditions we may apply), only alcohol purchased from us aboard the vessel may be consumed;
• No drugs (other than necessary prescription drugs for conditions) are permitted on board;
• No pets are permitted;
• Your behaviour and that of your party must not be disruptive or adversely affect the enjoyment of any other guest.

10. Your privacy and data

We comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and we are the data controller of all personal data provided to us by you and the rest of our customers. We collect and hold such data for the purposes of taking and processing your booking and holiday and thereafter, if you wish, letting you know details of future holiday opportunities and other related matters. We may need to pass on your data to other third parties who need to know them in order for us to fulfil those purposes. Where we can, we will ensure that such third parties hold data in accordance with GDPR but they may be outwith the UK or the European Union and therefore may be subject to different data protection legislation. Our full privacy policy is available on our website and upon request. By making a booking, you accept all of the above terms.

The nature of our holidays is that guests (and indeed ourselves) take many photographs and videos recording their holiday. We ask all guests to do that responsibly and with the usual obvious courtesies. If you ask us in writing not to use any image of you we will take all reasonable steps not to, but we will not be held responsible for the use of any image otherwise and we cannot be responsible for the taking and use of imagery by any other person. By booking, you accept that.

11. Complaints

We are proud that we very, very rarely get complaints. But we take them very seriously if we do.

If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of our service whether during your holiday or at any other time, it is very important indeed that you let us know as soon as possible. We have many skills, but we are not mind-readers! We can only resolve any problem if we know about it as soon as possible and very often it cannot be resolved unless it is dealt with quickly. You should let the skipper or any member of the crew know what any problem is. If you prefer, you should ask any member of the crew to ask for my, Martin Balcombe’s, direct involvement as managing director and owner. I will ensure that we do our utmost to satisfactorily resolve any issue.

If you remain dissatisfied, then you should please record any complaint in writing to us. This must be done no later than 30 days after the end of your holiday. We undertake to process any such written complaints fairly.

The maximum liability we will be responsible for is the amount paid by you to us for your holiday. We accept no liability for other losses, costs or expenses with direct or indirect or consequential.

12. Applicable Law

The agreement shall be subject to Scottish Law and under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts.

Thank you for taking the time to read these Terms and Conditions. We look forward to welcoming you on holiday soon.

Managing Director